Friday, November 1, 2013

Introducing Holiday Hostess (Prep the Pantry)

It's November 1st-otherwise known at our house as "bring on the Holidays".

There will be meals and merriment, guests and gracious blessings. It's my job to help make all of this happen without driving myself and everyone around me bonkers.

Behold the "blog-series"---

I'm starting my Holiday Hostess prep now and sharing my steps to managing the household for the holidays and happy hostessing. Because, if there's one thing I can do, it's make a plan.

I hope you'll join in the fun!

I say fun, because to me it IS FUN.

It requires the use of a bit of logic, a little forethought and lots of been-around-the-block-experience. That's all.

Its not rocket-science. Its party science. There's a difference.

I think there are those of us who enjoy Hostessing and those who are burdened by it, if you want to embrace it then stick with me and we'll hostess our way through the Holidays together.

Holiday Hostess- Prep the Pantry

As the hub for all of your everyday meal planning, holiday treat prep and perhaps last-minute sanity saver, it's helpful to get your pantry in tip-top shape well before the craziness begins.

At our house, the pantry needs extra attention this time of year because ever since Christmas ended last year, it's gradually accumulated unexplainable junk. Its as if every holiday and birthday leaves us with a few extra random "treats" that somehow wind up in the furthest reaches of my pantry. 

Easter Grass, party blowers, floral wire, camouflage napkins, super why treat bags anyone? No? Okay, they're going to the trash then...

So, now is the perfect time to clean out (yes, everything), clean up (might as well since you've emptied everything anyhow) and rearrange. This also enables you to inventory what you need and organize your storage space in a way that works for you.

(This is where I could tell you exactly how to organize your pantry, but you see your is yours and mine is mine and it isn't for me to say what method works for you.)

Here's my "after" pantry and I will tell you that for me I have sugars and sweeteners together, oils together, flours and meal together, pastas, canned goods (soups, veggies then fruits), I have a section of bevereages and mixes, baking needs, sweet seasoning, savory seasonings, snacks for the family. Breakfast is always on the top shelf for us. I have no explanation for that one. It just is.

Do what works for you and makes sense to you. 

I can't tell you how much better this feels once you have it done and out of the way. You must know that if you are hosting any type of holiday gathering or any company that they will inevitably want to "help" while they are at your house and the last thing you want is the dread of embarrassment when they go to try to grab the flour for you and are engulfed in a pumpkin-bubble-piƱata-peep-avalanche. What a way to go.....

Now that you're all prepped and organized, your guests safety's no longer an issue! Ha!

Now, for the inventory. Here's my (probably incomplete) list of items I stock for the Holidays. If I am out (or currently have the same one I bought LAST November) I put these on the list of things to get:

Sugars- White, Brown, Confectioner's
Poultry Seasoning
Extract-Vanilla, Almond, Peppermint
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Canned Pumpkin
Cream Soups- Mushroom, Chicken, Celery
Chicken Stock
Salt-Kosher and Table
Flours- All Purpose, Self Rising
Cornmeal Mix
Dipping Chocolate
Emergency Jar of Turkey Gravy

The good news is that most if not all of these items will be on sale now or in coming weeks.
Take inventory now and stock up. 

Let me just tell you that the canned goods and dried items in the store on Thanksgiving eve are not one iota fresher than the ones in the stores now. The only difference is you can save yourself some sanity by getting what you know you'll need now instead of battling the holiday chaos at the last minute.

While you're in the pantry--also take a moment to inventory your food storage containers and bags/wraps. This is another tricky area that can cause a less-than-helpful moment when you have a kitchen full of company.

Match up tops and bottoms of containers, evaluate what you need now. 

Get some containers for sending home leftovers with folks that you never plan to get back. 

Pick up a few disposable pans for taking items to neighbors and get-togethers. 

Get gallon sized storage bags for meal prep and leftovers and make sure you have extra aluminum foil on hand. 

Thank me later. :)

Next time we'll talk about prepping the rest of your kitchen for success as a Holiday Hostess. Be sure you're following along here or on Bloglovin' for the rest of the Holiday Hostess series. 

I'm working on my 12 Goals for Christmas 2013 that i shared last week and these are just steps in the process to be prepared for the holidays. I hope your holidays are happy, too!

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